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dogsbody

The Colour of Guns?

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Here's a question that's been floating through my mind for quite a while. As there's not much else in there, it took a while to solidify.

 

What was the colour of the bullet firing weaponry used by the various airforces during WW2? I've always painted them flat black, especially as I do 1/72 scale. 

I tried Tamiya XF-56 on a Wellington once but didn't like the look.

 

So, what's good for: RAF

                                 USAAF

                                 Luftwaffe

                                 VVS

                                 IJN/IJAAF

 

 

 

 

Chris

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Hmm, look individual specs, some US guns have what is called a Parkerised finish,  and it's a metallic blue.   I did a Tommy gun using Tamiya XF-85 Rubber Black (a really dark grey blue) and the used a soft pencil for highlights

48483568566_23c2fb2d45_o.jpgS8000004 by losethekibble, on Flickr

just a crop from a larger photo.

the parkerised finish is well shown here

Campbell_Thompson.jpg

 

Plenty of gun pics about, so have a search,  XF-56 is too bright,  and I suspect in many cases a dark grey with some graphite rubbed on will suffice. 

(posted on the grounds that there is nothing like a bit of generalised cobblers to draw out the anoraks who do know ;)  )

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10 minutes ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

I tend to do flat black or Tamiya NATO black then rub pencil over it to give it a sheen. 

great minds think alike :rofl2:

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16 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

I tend to do flat black or Tamiya NATO black then rub pencil over it to give it a sheen. 

 

Oh! That sounds like it would look good and it's easy to do. Thanks!

 

 

Chris

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What's wrong with gunmetal?

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Parkerizing is the produces used for aircraft guns and produces a flat black appearance . The Tommy gun pictured above has been finished by Blueing, hence the colour.

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Were British weapons parkerized or blued? US made weapons?

 

 

 

Chris

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1 hour ago, dogsbody said:

Were British weapons parkerized or blued? US made weapons?

I think this needs to be done on a case by case basis.   Given the RAF didn't use that many, it should be that hard, and there are plenty of preserved examples and I don''t think  the finish fades! 

an image search for 0.303 Browning

Pic%201.JPG

 

Browning_Mk_II_0.303_Keski-Suomen_ilmail

 

This off Wiki, from the Finnish AF museum,  show colour detail well, but a very dark grey with some graphite should work well.

 

2 hours ago, Ratch said:

What's wrong with gunmetal?

Nothing, for the right uses.  Fine I think for musket barrels,. but as shown above. some waepons were not in gunmetal,  as is pointed out , the Tommy gun is blued, and parkerised is grey, or black, and not gunmetal.(added after the below was searched)

 

A thought occurs,  a corrosion proof/resistant surface? (I'll search in a mo)

https://answers.fieldandstream.com/forum/guns/shotguns/28754-how-well-does-a-parkerized-finish-compare-to-a-blued-finish

Quote

Parkerization leaves a semi-porous finish on the metal, which holds oil better than bluing.

 

and  http://www.calvan.com/html/what_is_parkerizing.html

Quote

Parkerizing or Phosphating is a Metal Finish that really gained in popularity during WW2 when the US Government was looking to replace the typical blued finish on most small arms with a Rust Resistant and Anti Reflective Finish that would be both Durable and Abrasion Resistant and hold up in all weather extremes, for this they chose Parkerizing or Phosphating.

The Parkerizing technique is a Phosphate etching process that produces a Hard Matte or Dull finish that is both very Durable and Anti Reflective and with excellent oil holding properties.

The most commonly types used are the original WW2 type, known as Grey Oxide and the latter Black Manganese, still in use by many Military and Civilian Manufacturers in many countries on a wide variety of products.

 

Quote

Parkerizing is sometimes refered to as black oxide, however this is a misnomer as black oxide is nothing more than a type of black bluing which does not offer the protection and corrosion resistance of a parkerized part

 

 

 

The Browning above does not look grey.  Black bluing?  I think you will need to have a look at preserved weapons, and/or ask what the usual finishing procedures were for each country.

 

 

1 hour ago, st george said:

Parkerizing is the produces used for aircraft guns and produces a flat black appearance . The Tommy gun pictured above has been finished by Blueing, hence the colour.

Thanks.  I was working from memory, and had read about gun finishing.  Can you help Chris with specfics.

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To be specific, I'm thinking of what might look pretty good for 1/72. Screamingly authentic is not what I want. Something close enough will be fine. 

 

Besides you lot on here, nobody else who might ever see my work would ever know what a real .303 Browning or Vicker VGO should look like.

 

 

 

Chris

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I tried vallejo black grey, looks not bad, very dark grey. Maybe a good scale color for guns????

 

 

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as muskets have been mentioned; 

Musket barrels and locks of the late 18th C thru to about 1850 have a dark brown metallic finish

Muskets barrels and metal fittings of the ECW period are a stereotypical 'gun metal' colour

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ECW period ???

 

 

 

Chris

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Sorry, I forget some shorthand is not familiar to furinoors

ECW = English Civil Wars, relating to the two Civil Wars between 1642 and 1648. ECW Period also encompasses all of the 17th Century, 1601 to 1700.

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Right! I should have gotten that on my own. I blame my aging brain and my mis-spent youth.

 

 

 

Chris

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Phosphating "parkerizing" can give a range of colours, dependant on the process or chemical process used. I've worked a few rifles and the finish could be from a light/medium gray to almost black in colour.

I'd suspect that blued steel would have been prevalant in the earlier years of the war on a lot of barrels and actions, until the needs of mass-production became prevalent. The German rifles are like this, with proud workmanship evident in the first firearms produced during the pre and initial war years.

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Parkerizing (often also known as phosphating) has been pretty much the standard finish for all US military firearms since and including WW2 up to the recent widespread use of "Coyote" paint. This finish is generally a dull grey, ranging from very dark to surprisingly less dark. There are some variations that can give even a green finish but on US militay guns the standard was pretty much always a grey. Parkerising was in those days mainly a US thing, although Canadian arsenals also applied this finish.

US made commercial guns of the era were generally blued, Colt in particular was famous for their deep blued finish.. now this means that many guns used by the British for example had similar finishes as were part of commercial contracts (Thompsons for example).

British guns were generally blued by WW2, although some parts were also oil blackened. The kind of bluing applied by British arsenals was more of a black than something like the US commercial blued finish while oil blackening leads to an even deeper black. Late in WW2 British guns started to be... painted ! This process was generally applied over a parkerized finish and used black paint cured at high temperature. Such finish has been used in Britain for many years after the war and was also used elsewhere, Soviet Kalashnikovs for example were parkerized and then painted.

German guns were generally blued with a process that gave a grey/blue finish. Certain parts were often left "in the white", that is were not subject to protection treatments, but not really on machine guns.

 

Now when it comes to scale models the various surface finishes of the real guns are a bit less important and IMHO it's up to the modeller to decide how different he wants one gun from the other... There's also the problem of succesfully reproducing what is afterall a finish on a metal object, always a tricky thing.

Personally for smaller scales I generally just use greys, sometimes mixed with some dark blue: a dark grey for US guns, darker greys for German and British. I don't use black because I usually apply a black wash onto the finished gun to make some more detail visible, for example the cooling vents. Another reason not to use black is that some machine guns had black stocks or grips and these parts always look "more black" compared to the finish of the metal parts.

I don't bother with metallic paints or graphite, at least not in 1/72, as I feel that on such a small detail the metallic flakes in most paints would be too large to be realistic. Parkerized guns in particular are also pretty dull while painted guns are, well... painted.

There are a few details I like to add depending on the gun. On Browning aircraft MGs for example the tip of the barrel is in the white as this part finish wears off due to the movement of the barrel. On the MG81 the barrel jacket was finished differently from the receiver and was darker, almost black. Not applicable here, but on the M16 series the receiver is in aluminum and therefore finished differently from the steel parts... and so on.

All these details and others can be found by checking pictures of the real things, but beware ! Many (maybe most) older guns around today have been refurbished at some point in their history, sometimes by the same arsenals and sometimes after they ended in museums or in private hands. Refurbishment can sometime mean a change of finish, for example guns that were originally blued were painted, so better look for pictures of the era or guns that are in their original condition.

 

Edited by Giorgio N

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On 2/2/2020 at 12:07 AM, Troy Smith said:

generalised cobblers to draw out the anoraks who do know ;) 

We are not all anoraks and tbh anyone on this forum is an anorak to a greater or lesser extent. 

So anyway cant say for ww2 but in my experience of 'aircraft guns' as my professional courses in the past called the module and experience of 3 types...Aden gun ...gun metallic finish but you wouldn't see it since covered in a fairing GPMG and M3M parkerised...same with SLR and SA80 (and variants of).Baked on paint....used to touch up with some stuff called sunchronite....or similar sounding name.semi gloss black....which in small scale is way to much so I would take the advice given by Giorgio...less is more as they say

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, junglierating said:

We are not all anoraks and tbh anyone on this forum is an anorak to a greater or lesser extent. 

So anyway cant say for ww2 but in my experience of 'aircraft guns' as my professional courses in the past called the module and experience of 3 types...Aden gun ...gun metallic finish but you wouldn't see it since covered in a fairing GPMG and M3M parkerised...same with SLR and SA80 (and variants of).Baked on paint....used to touch up with some stuff called sunchronite....or similar sounding name.semi gloss black....which in small scale is way to much so I would take the advice given by Giorgio...less is more as they say

 

 

 

 

Suncorite 259. that is today not available anymore as was found to be seriously carcinogenic.

The same product was used to paint whole guns and was introduced in 1944. Sometimes the finish is described as "stove enameled". I'm pretty sure that the same technique was used on the SLR while the SA80 at some point was painted through electrostatic coating. Not that this makes much difference to the soldier of course, it's still just some paint on the gun 😁

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My late father-in-law used to polish up his guns - SMLE Mk.IV, SLR, Stirling, Browning 9mm and various shotguns and .22s with the 'black lead' he used on his farm house stove. Although it was called 'black lead' it was actually graphite in a heat proof wax type stuff. It went on and polished up real nice. Seems many soldiers in the UDR used it.

F-i-l had been a B-Special then in UDR and when he retired no-one asked him to hand his weapons over!

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15 hours ago, dogsbody said:

Right! I should have gotten that on my own. I blame my aging brain and my mis-spent youth.

You're not the only one mate,i did the same in the figures section with ACW what made it worse was there was actually photo's and i still didn't twig it was American Civil War....

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Wow, I must admit I've learned a lot and can't (and don't want to) compete with the experts on this topic.

 

But I think some guys - like me - are lazy chaps and therefore in need of a somwhat easy and fast approach. So, what I'll usually due is identifying the sprues with the guns and give them a base coat of mostly Revell acrylic 06 Teerschwarz (don't know right how these are called in english) with the airbrush.

 

Then, when detailling I give them a more or less intense dry brush with gun metal, and silver, and, after clearcoating, a wash with black. 

 

I once tinkered around and mixed some steel with a bit of Lufthansa blue and added a turn of dry brush with this as well. It looked not so bad for an experiment, but I don't do that regularily. 

 

Usually on smaller scales (and on more detailled models) this looks quite good for a fast approach.

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Love it when these interesting threads just pop up. Great info gents 👍

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Very interesting query and discussion! I can't speak for the aircraft machine guns and cannon used by other combatants, nor am I ever certain when looking at photos of preserved aircraft guns if they still retain their original finish, but can make a few  comments based upon some research and personal experience. (M-1 carbine, M-1 Garand, Colt Model 1911, and the Browning Automatic Rifle) From what I have read, Parkerizing was a chemical coating applied to US arms that originally used a manganese phosphate and later a zinc phosphate coating. When new, the process gave a  dark grey appearance with a greenish cast, which got progressively darker with use and frequent oiling.

 

On my 1/72 models, back in the old days before I knew any better, all gun  barrels and receivers were flat black, regardless of nationality. (A show of hands of all the guilty parties?) Now, for USAAF/USN aircraft I use a  mix of steel, dark green, and black that gives a dark greenish-grey cast- then I rub the receiver edges and gun barrels with a graphite drafting pencil. For RAF, IJN/IJA/Luftwaffe weapons, I use a mixture of black and steel to get the same black/blue-black appearance that those weapons seem to have, using the same graphite pencil on the edges and barrels. Not very visible in my scale, but very much so in 1/48 and larger scales.  My WW2 manufactured M-1 Garand, before it was re-parkerized, had all metal parts in a very matte greyish green color, but when refinished, the Parkerized finish was much a much darker grey with much less green but with a semi-gloss sheen .

 

Looking at current .50cal Browning M2's as fitted to fighting vehicles and heliocopters, the finish looks to be more towards the green than the grey scale, but I imagine the chemicals used in the process nowadays is not the same as those used during the war.

Mike

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9 minutes ago, 72modeler said:

 

 

On my 1/72 models, back in the old days before I knew any better, all gun  barrels and receivers were flat black, regardless of nationality. (A show of hands of all the guilty parties?)

✋

Richard

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